Glendale CSA calling for new members

Glendale is getting ready for another year of fresh vegetables, fruit and flowers, as its Community Supported Agriculture Program (CSA) is taking on new members for 2012.
Members of a CSA pay for the season in advance and sign up for vegetables and flowers, eggs or non-organic fruit. Members can choose one, two or three of the items.
Items can be picked up on every or every-other Saturday, and the program lasts from June through Thanksgiving.
The Glendale CSA is partnered with Garden of Eve Organic Farm in Riverhead, Long Island. Kevin Burns, who founded the organization in 2010 with his wife Kimberly Ferstler, said CSA’s are good for farmers because they get paid before their season starts.
Although New York City has about 100 CSA’s in total, few are in Queens, Burns said.
“It’s fun and adventurous,” he said of being a CSA member.
“You get some things that you maybe wouldn’t have purchased,” he said, “It does change a little bit your cooking habits and shopping habits.”
He said there is also a large social aspect involved in joining a CSA, because members share recipes and cooking tips. People often linger at the stands and talk to each other.
The CSA is hosting a trip to its partnering farm on May 19 and another in August.
“Each community has a different dynamic,” he said, adding that he was previously a Greenpoint and Forest Hills CSA member.
Burns said the Glendale CSA showed him a lot more diversity in the neighborhood, including a wide range of ages, occupations and opinions.
Some members join for health reasons, others because they care for the environment, while some are community oriented.
“I think everybody wants to eat better,” Burns said.
There are scholarships available for low-income members, and food leftover at the end of every Saturday is donated to a local food pantry.
The CSA last year had 75 members, it so far has 50 signed up for this year, but Burns is aiming for 80.
Bill Wenzel, a Glendale CSA member who’s lived in the area since 1980, said he used to be a member of a Manhattan CSA ,but joined this one when it opened three years ago because it is closer to where he lives.
“I believe that eating food that you don’t know quite where it came from and how it was processed is somewhat dangerous dealing with the long term,” Wenzel said.
In addition, “I believe that farmers should be able to get a fair price for their food.”
Wenzel also said not knowing exactly what he will get every week is an added thrill.
“I have gotten to sample foods that I walk passed in the local super markets and looked at them, but never knew how to eat them or how to prepare them,” he said. “So I’ve widened my food consumption quite a bit.”

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Goldfeder renews push for working train at abandoned line

In an effort to restore train service on Rockaway Beach Rail Line from its namesake neighborhood to Rego Park along 100th Street, Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder and residents of the Rockaways and South Queens communities unveiled an online petition in favor of the train line.
The petition, Goldfeder says, sends a strong message to Governor Cuomo and transit agencies that Queens residents “strongly support full restoration of the long-abandoned line.”
“Residents from all demographics, from all neighborhoods, are really uniting to send a strong message to the MTA, the Port Authority and the governor that we must improve transportation access in Queens,” Goldfeder said. “And the best way to do that is by bringing back the Rockaway Beach rail line. This line is the only line that will allow us in Queens to go north and south.
“Our corridors are all jammed up,” he added, “and bringing back this line would really alleviate the transportation problems and give all Queens residents access.”
Urging residents to sign the petition, Goldfeder noted that it’s important that people realize it’s not only one neighborhood or one group fighting for the restoration.
Goldfeder is also pushing for the rail line because of the estimated growth of South Queens with Resorts World Casino, the governor’s proposal to build the largest convention center in the country in the area, and the new image of the Rockaway Peninsula as a tourist haven.
“The Rockaway Beach line is the way to go to get people to Resorts World Ne York and the Rockaways,” he said. “It’s about interconnectivity in the borough.”
Residents can sign the petition at
Goldfeder said that with enough signatures, he will show the petition to the governor, the Port Authority and the MTA.
Although some residents are in favor of a restored rail line at the abandoned tracks, others would like to see a High Line-like park along the tracks, or a “Queensway,” adding more green space to the borough.
“We’re talking billions of dollars here,” CB9 chair Andrea Crawford, an avid supporter of park space on the rail line, said in February. “To say that you can reactivate the track is disingenuous. We need more open space in Queens and I don’t think the time and energy spent on a railway project helps anyone. I don’t think it’s a viable solution.”
Goldfeder said that he is not against that idea. He said if there is a way that a rail line and green space can coexist side by side he will be all for it.
Crawford suggested updating the A train so that it becomes more reliable and offers more express train service.
But some supporters of a train line, including mass transit advocate John Rozankowski. said that it would be a huge benefit as it would give Queens residents, particularly Rockaway residents, greater access to and from Manhattan.
“Reviving the Rockaway line will have a dramatic impact on Queens,” he said.
Rozankowski also hopes that the reestablished rail line will bring more businesses to the borough since it will bring intra-borough connectivity.
If built, the rail line will run through Ozone Park, Forest Hills, Glendale and Rego Park.

Grover Cleveland and Bushwick High Schools taken off closure list

After months of protests, hearings and community meetings residents held to fight to keep their local high schools open, Bushwick Community and Grover Cleveland high schools were taken off the Education Department’s list for potential closures, just hours before a panel was set to vote on them.
The schools were being considered for the “turnaround” method, which would give the buildings new names and eliminate 50 percent of their staff come September. Schools are slated for turnaround when they’ve been on the state’s Persistently Low Achieving (PLA) list, meaning graduation rates were below 60 percent, for the last three years.
The Education Department (DOE)’s Panel for Educational Policy (PEP) voted on whether to turnaround the remaining schools on the list at a meeting on Thursday, April 26th at the Prospect Heights Campus at 883 Classon Avenue in Brooklyn.
Communities across the city have fought the turnaround method for months, with teachers potentially losing their jobs, students losing favored staff and school names reflected in alma matters spanning back through family generations potentially changed.
But DOE representatives argue that the turnaround model is intended to help schools by speeding up the pace of improvement, particularly since those that enter the program would receive upwards of $2 million in federal funding for reform initiatives.
Bushwick High School was put on the turnaround list last year also, but the community fought successfully to keep it open.
The school serves many 17 to 21-year-olds who struggle to graduate, but State Senator Martin Dilan said the students to care about their educations.
He said the school has small class sizes and one-on-one educational opportunities tailored to help struggling students.
“This school and it’s programs are tailored to students that have not excelled in traditional classrooms and curriculum,” Dilan said in a statement after the school was taken off the turnaround list. “This school offers a second chance and any success, no matter how small, is worth fighting for.”
Over at Grover Cleveland, parents, staff and students held protests at 7 a.m., bombarded the school’s PEP hearing with opposition, and dominated local civic meetings with their concerns.
The school, which started the 2011/12 school year under the federal restart model, got a new principal midway through September and therefore did not get the chance to prove its ability for success yet, they argued.
Staff said the school’s graduation rates are low in part because many students don’t speak the language when they enter the school, and sometimes are illiterate in their native tongues.
After the school was removed from the turnaround list Thursday morning, Assemblywoman Cathy Nolan, who graduated from Grover Cleveland in 1979, and Queens Borough President Helen Marshall’s PEP representative Dmytro Fedkowskyj, class of 1984, released a joint statement thanking DOE for its decision.
“The have recognized the strength and improvement under Principal Denise Vittor and all the excellence that the Grover Cleveland community offers,” the representatives said.
However, they added, “we continue to express our opposition and concern with the proposed turnaround model and we urge the city to drop their quest to close all these schools, especially the large comprehensive Queens high schools.”

104th Precinct Crime Blotter

Monday, Apr. 23

Ibrahim Ali was arrested at Cypress Avenue and Vermont Place for criminal possession of a weapon by Officer Rodriguez.
Anisoava Caldavas was arrested at 60-16 Myrtle Avenue for criminal possession of stolen property by Officer Toor.
Stormy Alvarez was arrested at 1730 Madison Street for assault by Officer Simone.

Tuesday, Apr. 24

Bruce Wilson was arrested at 54-19 Myrtle Avenue for assault by Detective Diaquoz.
Stephen Mullins was arrested at 60-95 69th Avenue for assault by Detective Murray.
Alexander Muchin was arrested at 67-41 Myrtle Avenue for robbery by Officer Marixyaccz.
Edilberto Correa was arrested at Maspeth Avenue and 61st Street for menacing by Officer Rodriguez.

Wednesday, Apr. 25

Daniel Nemeth was arrested at 59-15 Maspeth Avenue for assault by Officer Hyatt.
Abraham Sanchez was arrested at 503 Fairview Avenue for assault by Officer Diaz.
Jeremias Caac was arrested at 56-08 61st Street for criminal possession of a weapon by Officer Peart.
Maria Bauer was arrested at 60-10 83rd Street for assault by Officer Nappi.
Michael Nelson was arrested at Menahan Street and Grandview Avenue for petit larceny by Officer Miller.

Thursday, Apr. 26

Michael Parker was arrested at Fresh Pond Road and 68th Avenue for assault by Officer Krokondelas.
Phillip Babtok was arrested at 876 Woodward Avenue for criminal trespassing by Officer Varecka.
Edward Warren was arrested at 876 Woodward Avenue for criminal trespassing by Officer Varecka.
Porfirio Garrastazu was arrested at 59-55 Madison Street for criminal contempt by Detective Webb.
Josephine Hargrove was arrested at 475 Wyckoff Avenue for aggravated harassment by Officer Williams.
Eduardo Santos was arrested at 58-09 Myrtle Avenue for petit larceny by Officer Dupont.

Friday, Apr. 27

James Smith was arrested at 67-53 78th Street for criminal contempt by Officer Toor.
Pasquale Dellaratta was arrested at 21-27 Himrod Street for graffiti by Officer Simone.
Kelly Grullon was arrested at 765 Seneca Avenue for criminal possession of stolen property by Officer Mendez.
Christopher Rodriguez was arrested at 16-39 Woodbine street for criminal possession of stolen property by Officer Rodriguez.
Hannna Hanna was arrested at 17-01 Gates Avenue for criminal possession of stolen property By Officer Mendez.
Wilfredo Awdujar was arrested at Myrtle Avenue and Cypress Avenue for criminal possession of stolen property by Officer Rodriguez.
Paul Devlin was arrested at Flushing Avenue and 57th Street for graffiti by Officer Dambinskas.

Saturday, Apr. 28

Victor Gonzalez was arrested at Myrtle Avenue and the Jackie Robinson Parkway for driving while intoxicated by Officer McCarren.
Rosa Salto was arrested at 61-31 Madison Street for acting in a manner to cause injury to a child by Officer McKevitt.
Steffany Manguia was arrested at 66-26 Metropolitan Avenue for criminal possession of stolen property by Officer Ock.
Joseph Stine was arrested at 20-31 Bleecker Street for assault by Officer Misomen.
Gerny Carroll was arrested at 77-27 82nd Street for assault by Officer Aviles.

Sunday, Apr. 29

Maverick Matos was arrested at Borden Avenue and 60th Street for forgery by Officer Varecka.
David Cadavid was arrested at 60th Street and 55th Drive for aggravated unlicensed operation of a vehicle by Officer Arata.
Kelvin Mazyck was arrested at Seneca Avenue and Palmetto Street for robbery by Officer Swiistun.
Victor Nunez was arrested at 17-22 Woodbine Street for assault by Officer Mays.
Jose Aguilar was arrested at 587 Onderdonk Avenue for assault by Officer Ziman.
Sandra Echevarria was arrested at 60-52 Cooper Avenue for assault by Officer Murtha.
Daniel Rapala was arrested at 20-26 Himrod Street for criminal contempt by Officer Gomez.
Diego Garcia was arrested at 578 Woodward Avenue for assault by Officer Sanchez.
Luis Calle was arrested at 20-21 Woodbine Street for burglary by Officer McKevitt.
Lindsey Ortiz was arrested at 66-26 Metropolitan Avenue for criminal possession of stolen property by Officer Thompson.

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